It’s fair to say I’d pigeonholed The Script prior to the gig; an Irish boy band with a handful of hits, in short I’d anticipated a half sold out venue filled with preteen girls. Forgive me then for being somewhat shocked when I arrived at Hammersmith to find a queue of twenty-somethings all desperate to get inside. The Script too ensured I departed with a changed perspective and whilst they’re probably never going to be anything other than unintellectualised power pop, they know their genre and they do it with style.
Whilst their first offering seemed to merge soft raps over pop beats, Science & Faith has taken a distinctive shift towards the rock sound, a gamble that on the album seems to leave it feeling flat and weak. Their debut and it’s cherished hits was always going to be a hard act to follow, but live Science & Faith seems to come some way to measuring up. The riffs are louder, the drum beats edgier and the sound altogether more diverse and this, combined with the boy’s easier banter on stage, goes some way to explaining why they woke to find themselves top of the iTunes chart on the day of the album’s release.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the likes of Man Who Can’t Be Moved and We Cry which get the biggest reaction, the latter complete with Danny’s descent into the crowd for some off-key audience participation, whilst the acoustic I’m Yours is met with a sea of camera lights, as a kind of modern take to a lighter in the air. Nevertheless a quick glance backwards shows that the new songs are equally infectious, If You Ever Come Back raising a large section of the balcony to their feet. In short, the set is altogether perfectly timed, new songs interspersed with old ones at a pace that allows the audience to keep their focus and keep them hanging on the boys every word.
Nothing and Rusty Halo seem to be the stand out tracks of night. Amped up to the max and filled with energy they bring the set to its climax working the crowd into a frenzy for the closing Breakeven. Whilst they can’t deny that lyrically the songs seem to be somewhat depressing, heartbreak and life on the road being the topics of choice, The Script manage to counterbalance this with music which is upbeat and full of vitality. They might be Irish, they might be a boy band, but The Script should not be judged until you’ve seen them live and after tonight’s performance next time around it is likely there’ll be one more twenty-something taking her place in the queue.